Josef Mayr-Nusser

Faithful to the only Lord Jesus Christ


On Saturday, March 18th, Josef Mayr-Nusser, martyr, married layman, and father—at the time of his death his son was two years old—was beatified in Bolzano. He was an authentic witness of Christ, who gave his life when he refused loyalty to another “lord.”

Born on December 27th, 1910, Josef was known for his faith and his honesty. Formed through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More, and Romano Guardini, he cultivated an intense prayer life and liturgical practice, and was a member of Catholic Action and of the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. “A martyr does not improvise, and martyrdom is not a fluke,” said Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during the Beatification Mass in the Cathedral of Bolzano, last Saturday.

When World War II began, Josef realized that they were “living in times of persecution,” the cardinal explained, giving the reasons for Josef’s place today among the blessed. Those were times “that called for consistent witnessing to the Gospel, in word and deed.” In a letter written to his wife after he had refused to swear allegiance to Hitler, Josef writes: “The urgency of this witness is now inescapable, two worlds are colliding. My superiors have shown too clearly their rejection and hate for what we Catholics consider sacred and inalienable.”

For the frankness of his faith, he was arrested and sentenced to go to the Dachau concentration camp, but he did not arrive there. He died, in inhuman conditions, of the hardships on the way, on February 24th, 1945, in Erlangen.

20 March 2017